With the foundation for your engagement strategy in place, the next steps are to craft your audience’s path through experience and select the right mechanics and triggers.
To craft your audience’s experiential journey, you can use the six-stage process of the experience path. The six stages consist of Discovery, Acquisition, Onboarding, Instructional Scaffolding, Mastery and Endgame.
Discovery is quite literally where they discover you. It’s how you make yourself known, and how your brand awareness is being done. If no one knows about you, they won’t be able to discover you.
The next stage is Acquisition, this is where an audience member has discovered you, has become interested, and now you need to ‘convert’ them into becoming your audience, your customer. And this is done by offering information, a gift, a freebie, something that they can purchase quickly and easily.
After you’ve acquired your audience members, you will need to onboard them onto the experience that you’ve built. This is essentially inviting them into your brand world, slowly and bit by bit teaching them all the things you offer and can help them with.
Once you’ve managed to onboard them, you then need to ‘educate’ them. This stage of Instructional Scaffolding is where you provide guidance and support to your audience as they progress in their engagement journey. It’s like teaching someone to swim. You start with a life jacket (basic instructions) and gradually remove it as they gain confidence (advanced instructions). And slowly add more complex moves such as swimming underwater. Another example is where you help educate your audience on all the features of your product and how if they added certain features or learned certain practices, they would be able to get more out of their purchase.
Once your audience reaches the Mastery stage, it means that they have essentially achieved their desired goal, whether it’s becoming an expert in a particular field or enjoying a seamless product experience. Your engagement strategy must ensure they don’t just meet their goals but excel in them, this then leads to brand loyalty and advocacy.
The final stage is the Endgame, and this is where you will need to direct your audience to an additional or another path within your brand experience ecosystem. Or accept the fact that you and they had a good time, but it’s now time to part ways. Though preferably it is the former because a long-lasting loyal relationship is more beneficial for both of you.
While you are going through and building out these various sequential stages, it is crucial for you to select the right engagement mechanics and triggers. These are the tactics and tools that will help captivate your audience and maintain their interest. But the most important aspect to understand is that it’s not about quantity; it’s about quality. You will need to navigate the intricate landscape of engagement mechanics, ensuring you choose the most suitable ones for your unique goals. And the options for the mechanics range from gamification elements, and personalized content, to interactive social media campaigns. Choose those that align best with your audience and goals.
Not only are they important for achieving your goals and your audience’s goals, but they are also important in selecting what types of metrics you will use to determine whether you have been successful or not in your engagement strategy.